Cadets start training at Alpha's new Philippines school

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UK-based Alpha Aviation Group’s new pilot training school in the Philippines has begun training its first group of cadets, who should receive their Airbus A320 type rating in 12 months.

Chief commercial officer Nigel Harwood says the first group of cadets began training at the newly established Clark Institute of Aviation on 29 January. The would-be pilots are each paying $75,000 for the course.

The students are starting with five months of ground training, which will be followed by flight training in a single-engine aircraft and then simulator training, after which they will receive an A320 type rating. Training will follow the ICAO-approved Multi-Crew Pilot Licence syllabus.

“The facility at Clark is all completely set up and running now,” says Harwood.

“We’ve got the classrooms, the restaurant, the rooms – it’s a full school campus now and the first group began their training on Monday.”

He says Alpha Aviation, which was only established early last year, is also talking to several Asian airlines about training their ab initio pilots at the Clark Institute, which is located at the former Clark Air Force Base outside the Philippine capital Manila.

An A320 ‘Level D’ full-flight simulator manufactured by CAE is now being installed and it should be ready for training in March or April, says Harwood, who adds that spare time will be sold on the simulator to airlines wishing to conduct their own recurrent training.

Alpha Aviation now has two training centres, the other being Bond Aviation Solutions’ centre in Amsterdam, which has a current-generation Boeing 737 full-flight simulator. Alpha Aviation acquired UK-based Bond in the second half of last year.

Harwood says the company is continuing to look at establishing pilot training schools in emerging markets such as India and the Middle East, adding that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with an airline in the Middle East for a joint-venture centre.

“It is our intention to have a number of institutes set up around the world,” says Harwood.

“By the end of this year we would like to have four up and running.”

Harwood also says Alpha Aviation is looking to add a second simulator at the Clark Institute “probably later this year or early 2008”, of a type that has yet to be determined.